Research Article

Sustainability practices in container terminals in Brazil

Tomaz Alexandre Calcerano; Wilson de Castro Hilsdorf

Downloads: 1
Views: 349


Abstract: Paper aims: This paper aims to investigate which sustainability practices are being applied in port terminals in Brazil and to identify the driving forces and obstacles to the implementation of these practices.

Originality: The research contributes to fill gaps that still remain in the literature, such as the need to identify and analyze sustainability requirements in the port industry in a more tangible way, bringing new evidence to a better understanding of how the port industry perceives and addresses sustainability issues.

Research method: The paper presents an in-depth multiple case study in the five largest terminals in Brazil, which correspond to approximately 60% of the Brazilian handling of containers.

Main findings: The results present evidence of the evolution of the commitment to environmental preservation and the progressive dissemination of sustainability practices. The main difficulties are the high costs and lack of support from the port authority to encourage the implementation of some practices.

Implications for theory and practice: This study aimed to disclose sustainability practices adopted at container terminals in Brazil, as well as provide some content, both for academia and companies, that may assist in developing new research on this theme and implementing these practices in other organizations.


Ports industry, Maritime transport, Sustainability


Agência Nacional de Transportes Aquaviários – ANTAQ. (2017). Anuário estatístico aquaviário 2016. Brasília. Retrieved in 2017, August 21, from

Asgari, N., Hassani, A., Jones, D., & Nguye, H. H. (2015). Sustainability ranking of the UK major ports: methodology and case study. Transportation Research Part E, Logistics and Transportation Review, 78, 19-39.

Ashrafi, M., Acciaro, M., Walker, T. R., Magnan, G. M., & Adams, M. (2019). Corporate sustainability in Canadian and US maritime ports. Journal of Cleaner Production, 220, 386-397.

Baumgartner, M., Léonardi, J., & Krusch, O. (2008). Improving computerized routing and scheduling and vehicle telematics, a qualitative survey. Transportation Research Part D, Transport and Environment, 13(6), 377-382.

Brasil. Secretaria Nacional de Portos – SEP. (2014). Gestão ambiental. Brasília. Retrieved in 2016, April 20, from

Cannon, J. S. U. S. (2008). Container ports and air pollution: a perfect storm. Boulder, CO: Energy Futures. Retrieved in 2016, April 20, from

Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., & Esposito, E. (2017). Environmental sustainability in the service industry of transportation and logistics service providers: Systematic literature review and research directions. Transportation Research Part D, Transport and Environment, 53, 454-470.

Chan, E. S. W., & Wong, S. C. K. (2006). Motivations for ISO 14001 in the hotel industry. Tourism Management, 27(3), 481-492.

Clarke, R. (2006). An automated terminal is a green terminal. In Facilities Engineering Seminar. New Orleans: American Association of Port Authorities. Retrieved in 2016, April 20, from

Davarzani, H., Fahimnia, B., Bell, M., & Sarkis, J. (2016). Greening ports and maritime logistics: a review. Transportation Research Part D, Transport and Environment, 48, 473-487.

Di Vaio, A., & Varriale, L. (2018). Management innovation for environmental sustainability in seaports: managerial accounting instruments and training for competitive green ports beyond the regulations. Sustainability, 10(3), 783.

Dinwoodie, J., Tuck, S., Knowles, H., Benhin, J., & Sansom, M. (2012). Sustainable development of maritime operations in ports. Business Strategy and the Environment, 21(2), 111-126.

Galpin, T., Whittington, J.L., & Bell, G. (2015). Is your sustainability strategy sustainable? Creating a culture of sustainability. Corporate Governance. The International Journal of Business in Society, 15, 1-17.

Gupta, A. K., Gupta, S. K., & Patil, R. S. (2005). Statistical analyses of coastal water quality for a port and harbour region in India. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 102(1-3), 179-200. PMid:15869186.

Haine, C. (2009). Perspectives of a global container terminal operator. In Proceedings o the 4th International Ports and the Environment Conference and Exhibition. Naples, Italy: EcoPorts Foundation & ESPO.

Hakam, M. H., & Solvang, W. D. (2013). Container ports sustainability: a literature review. In Proceedings o the 4th IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications. Piscataway: IEEE.

Hou, L., & Geerlings, H. (2016). Dynamics in sustainable port and hinterland operations: a conceptual framework and simulation of sustainability measures and their effectiveness, based on an application to the Port of Shanghai. Journal of Cleaner Production, 135, 449-456.

International Association of Ports and Harbors – IAPH. (2016). World container traffic data. Retrieved in 2017, August 21, from

Laxe, F. G., Bermúdez, F. M., Palmero, F. M., & Novo-Corti, I. (2016). Sustainability and the Spanish port system. Analysis of the relationship between economic and environmental indicators. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 113(1-2), 232-239. PMid:27707470.

Lazic, M. B. (2006). Is the semi-automated or automated rail mounted gantry operation a green terminal? In Facilities Engineering Seminar. New Orleans: American Association of Port Authorities. Retrieved in 2017, August 21, from

Léonardi, J., & Baumgartner, M. (2004). CO2 efficiency in road freight transportation, status quo, measures and potential. Transportation Research Part D, Transport and Environment, 9(6), 451-464.

Lu, C., Shang, K., & Lin, C. (2016a). Identifying crucial sustainability assessment criteria for container seaports. Maritime Business Review, 1(2), 90-106.

Lu, C. S., Lai, P. L., & Chiang, Y. P. (2016b). Container terminal employees’ perceptions of the effects of sustainable supply chain management on sustainability performance. Maritime Policy & Management, 43(5), 597-613.

Notteboom, T. (2013). Recent traffic dynamics in the European container port system (Global Issues, No. 58, pp. 14-18). London: Port Technology International.

Pedrick, D. (2006). Green terminal design. Retrieved in 2017, August 20, from

Peris-Mora, E., Diez Orejas, J. M., Subirats, A., Ibáñez, S., & Alvarez, P. (2005). Development of a system of indicators for sustainable port management. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 50(12), 1649-1660. PMid:16095626.

Puig, M., Wooldridge, C., Michail, A., & Darbra, R. M. (2015). Current status and trend of the environmental performance in European ports. Environmental Science & Policy, 48, 57-66.

Saengsupavanich, C., Coowanitwong, N., Gallardo, W., & Lertsuchatavanich, C. (2009). Environmental performance evaluation of an industrial port and estate: ISO14001, port state control-derived indicators. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17(2), 154-161.

Schrobback, P., & Meath, C. (2020). Corporate sustainability governance: Insight from the Australian and New Zeland port industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 255, 120280.

Shiau, T. A., & Chuang, C. C. (2015). Social construction of port sustainability indicators: a case study of Keelung Port. Maritime Policy & Management, 42(1), 26-42.

Sislian, L., Jaegler, A., & Cariou, P. (2016). A literature review on port sustainability and ocean’s carrier network problem. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 19, 19-26.

Sisson, M. (2006). The state of the art for green terminals: an automated terminal is a green terminal. In Facilities Engineering Seminar. New Orleans: American Association of Port Authorities.

Stocchetti, A. (2012). The sustainable firm: from principles to practice. International Journal of Business and Management, 7(21).

Vujičić, A., Zrnic, N., & Jerman, B. (2013). Ports sustainability: a life cycle assessment of zero emission cargo handling equipment. Journal of Mechanical Engineering, 9(59), 547-555.

Yang, Y. C. (2015). Determinants of container terminal operation from green port perspective. International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 7(3), 319-346.

Zheng, Y., Zhao, J., & Shao, G. (2020). Port city sustainability: a review of its research trends. Sustainability, 12(20), 8355.

Submitted date:

Accepted date:

60a4145ca953952c85034e83 production Articles
Links & Downloads


Share this page
Page Sections